There's no denying that consumer migration from the high street
to the web browser has been significant, a trend that is, for the
most part irreversible.
Consumer habits and expectations have changed significantly
across the UK and CI, not just as a result of technology and
innovation in digital retail but also because modern life affords
little time for traditional 'retail therapy.'
Those two facts alone highlight the importance of being part of
the customer consideration process as early as possible, and
offering access and increased convenience through one's online
Add to this the ever-increasing use of mobile for search, store
locators, and payments, and there is an obvious need for
traditional retail businesses to think about how to best join up
online and offline channels.
Let's begin with the perceived problem:
"The web is killing our business"
This is a comment made regularly by local retailers when
describing the impact that online shopping has had on their
High rental and staffing costs, in addition to the expense of
shipping stock to the island are highlighted as inhibitors to their
ability to compete on price and / or convenience.
However I'd suggest that rather than seeing online competition
as a negative, retailers should view the potential of online sales
as an opportunity.
The New Convenience Store
Let's focus on a key driver of business to the online retailer,
For an ever-increasing selection of products and services, using
your web browser and buying online is the easiest method of
acquiring what you need. You can purchase what you want, when you
want it, from home, the office or on the move.
While this is often the cheapest route too; you don't need to do
a multi-thousand pound survey to discover that Channel Island folk
are intrinsically patriotic and wherever possible prefer to buy
locally even if it does mean paying slightly more.
Local web stores, for local people
Focus on how your customers benefit by purchasing from a local
retailer vs your non-local, online competitors such as:
- The ability to physically browse products in store
- Provide in store sales expertise
- Next day delivery
- Physical installation / training (Where applicable)
- In store collection
- The benefit to the local community
So why not also offer your stock inventory online? By allowing
people to view your goods via their browser and in store and order
when and wherever they want, you're offering the kind of
convenience that is currently driving people away from the high
street into the hands of e-tailers.
Using a multi-channel retail approach means you can also expand
your inventory by offering both in-stock and available-to-order
items to your customers, again, improving the convenience
experienced when shopping with you.
Getting online is easier than ever
Offering your products and services online is increasingly
accessible. There are a number of mature, well-thought-through
online software platforms that make it quick and easy to set up and
promote an online store.
Shopify (www.shopify.com) is one such platform and
provides a cost-effective solution for many retail businesses
looking to 'dip-a-toe' in online retailing. What's more,
Shopify's own Point of Sale system (www.shopify.com/pos) offers a simple,
cross-channel solution for small businesses looking to sell both
online and offline, meaning you only have to manage one stock
Blix is a registered Shopify Partner and has developed a number
of online stores for businesses in the Channel Islands and further
Having an attractive and useable website is a necessary starting
place for any progress in the digital space. Innovation is then
required to make the content and digital services offered by your
business appealing to customers.
Many opportunities come to mind, that are relevant to both
online and in-store:
- Digital vouchers and gift certificates
- Reserve and collect services
- Product reviews, also made digitally available in-store
- In-store WIFI
- In-store tablets, e.g. for browsing product collections with
the speed and convenience we are accustomed to online
- Daily deals available via email/mobile
- Mobile payments
How we can help
Blix have created a number of online stores and associated
marketing strategies for a range of businesses.
From large scale, custom developed e-commerce websites for
businesses selling globally, to small, locally focused online
stores using 'off-the-shelf' platforms such as Shopify we are aware
of the unique challenges & opportunities selling online
If you would like to discuss how your business can adopt a
multi-channel retail strategy please don't hesitate to contact
Dominic on [email protected] or 01481
Filed under E-Commerce